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personal growth lessons to learn at thirty years old

30 Personal Growth Lessons I’ve Learned In 30 Years

It’s the end of an era. I’m officially out of my twenties. Before my birthday, I spent some time reflecting on my 20s and I realized that this decade has included an unbelievable amount of growth.

In your twenties, you go through so many different stages of life. And while I’m still single and not in the phase yet of having a family – I started my twenties in college, went from working in retail to landing my first corporate job and then started a business, and am now fully working for myself.

I went through relationships, living in new cities and now a new state, and a little over 6 years ago, I discovered personal development and started this blog.

These are the lessons I’ve learned over the last few years that have truly changed my perspective over the last decade. I’m sure my perspective will change again on some of these in the future, but here’s what I have for you today.

This is a long one, so let’s jump right into the 30 personal growth lessons I’ve learned in thirty years.

1. Holding a boundary expands your self-worth

There are so many terms like routines and boundaries that can feel so restricting. And I’ve learned in practice the power of boundaries in allowing you to step into your self-worth and show up for yourself, despite the pressures of others. We’re trained from when we’re young to be flexible for other people and we’re constantly moving our priorities around for others. But when we’re firm and clear in what we want, we validate our own needs.

And OMG, setting a boundary has to be the scariest thing. You’re saying no to someone or something you love in order to get what you really want, and you’re risking being alone or someone rejecting you.

But here’s the thing – you’re the person you wake up with every morning and go to bed with every night. So at the end of the day, you need to choose your self-respect first. And that doesn’t mean you don’t choose to be vulnerable with others or that you don’t compromise – but it means that you commit to trusting in yourself first and that’s a powerful and beautiful thing to bring to any relationship.

2. No one is better than you

Oh man, did it take me a while to learn this one! For some darn reason, I see my flaws as being significantly worse than everyone else’s – but we’re all equally flawed with our own traumas and issues that we’re overcoming. Some people are just better at showcasing their highlight reel. Weirdly, the enneagram really helped me in learning to love the quirks I have in myself, and appreciate that everyone is dealing with their own demons.

3. Do everything in moderation

Shout out to my mom for this personal growth lesson, because it’s her favorite saying! But it’s true. Anytime I feel myself going a little overboard in any area of life, it’s a big red flag that I need to check in with myself – because chances are, I’m probably escaping something.

4. Your confidence comes from trust in yourself

So often we’re worried about the people in our lives losing trust in us, but we don’t think about the ways in which we lose our own trust. When you say you’ll do something, and you don’t do it, you start to doubt yourself. The trust you built with yourself diminishes, and you lose confidence.

When you create goals from this place, there’s a part of you that already knows you’re not going to come through. Building back trust with yourself is a process worth prioritizing.

5. Learn to respond instead of reacting

My last relationship gave me a crash course in this one. My go-to way to handle hearing something bad would be to get angry and upset, before I allowed myself to sit with it or to fully understand how the other person was feeling.

I’ve learned to take a step back, see the fuller picture, and give it time before reacting. It’s been a really hard lesson for me, but I’ve realized through reacting immediately, I’m letting my fear rule the conversation and would find myself regretting the way I handled the situation – even when I was justified to feel the way I did.

6. No person can fulfill your every need, nor should they

We have expectations these days that our partner should be both our best friend, lover, caretaker, roomie, etc. They are supposed to check all the boxes, and I feel like it’s left us pretty codependent. I think it’s important to have a partner that gives you what you really need, but ultimately, we need a network around us, so that we’re not putting too much pressure on our relationship to fulfill parts of us that they can’t. And, most importantly, we’re responsible for ourselves. It’s not our partner’s job to make us happy.

7. Give it context

Instead of beating yourself up over the way you’re feeling unmotivated or undisciplined, acknowledge your situation and how much you’re going through. Like, truly spell it out for yourself. This has been a recent revelation to me, because I have so many goals and a lot of times I feel mad at myself for not being further along with them.

In certain seasons, I think you really need to push yourself and in other seasons, you need to give yourself context on why you might not have the energy in this season. Even recognizing that you’re in the menstrual phase of your cycle, or realizing that you haven’t been outside in a few days, and that’s probably why you’re not feeling your best. It’s often not about you, so give yourself a break and give the situation context.

8. Life is happening FOR you and not to you

Oooh baby, this was a life changer. I think about this all the time. I choose to believe that things are happening for my benefit, even when things aren’t going well. Maybe there’s a lesson I can get out of it, or maybe it will all make sense someday. I’m aware that “everything happens for a reason” is controversial and that sometimes bad things happen that just don’t make sense, but whether or not it’s true, I feel that believing that gets me through hard things quicker and it’s a perspective I choose to take on.

9. The wiser you are, the less you know

It’s funny how when we’re young, we can be such know-it-alls and some people definitely never outgrow that, but I feel like the wisest people I’ve ever met are aware of how little they know and come into conversations with curiosity and a desire to learn more, no matter their age or experience.

10. Turn it around

I play this fun little game when I’m feeling judgmental about someone else. I learned this from Byron Katie, a technique where you reflect back what you’re feeling about someone else and say it back to you. She calls this, “the work“. Basically, when you find yourself feeling judgmental, turn the sentence around back on yourself.

We’re constantly projecting. So anything we’re getting angry about, we can often redirect at ourselves and find areas that we need to work on self-acceptance around. And the same goes for the people who are crappy to you, it’s not about you.

11. There is beauty in our darkness

Toxic positivity happens when we don’t acknowledge the darkness. But you can learn to accept the dark sides, without letting them rule you. In fact, it’s when we don’t acknowledge our dark side that it does rule our subconscious.

12. It’s far more fulfilling to create than to consume

I love doing both, but I’ve found that when I’m consuming way too much, I’m far less creative. It’s like we go and watch others with the intention to get inspiration, but I’ve found that the inspiration comes to me when I’m not consuming. When I almost feel “bored” is when I have the most energy and mind space to finally get those creative juices flowing.

13. Learning about yourself is your secret weapon

Instead of fighting your natural self, why not learn and accept your flaws so that you can find solutions or create a lifestyle that actually suits you? I feel like we’re often trying to fit in, and we forget that our quirks are actually amazing gifts we have. So find a way to really utilize that and get comfortable in your own skin.

14. Small steps really do make big progress

I used to feel like I needed to change my whole life at once, and like most people, when I wanted to change everything, nothing ended up changing. Changing things one at a time has been the biggest way I’ve made sustainable changes in my life.

15. Habits can make taking action so much simpler

In that same vein, it doesn’t have to be that hard or take that much effort to make substantial changes in our lives. I feel like we believe we have to work out at the gym, do exercises we hate and eat only healthy meals, in order to see significant changes in our lives. It’s just not true – we can make huge progress in our lives with small changes like adding more greens into our meals, going for 20-minute walks, and adding more mindfulness to our days.

16. What works for someone else might not work for you

It’s taken me a long time to appreciate the things about me that are unique – or just aren’t the same as the mainstream representation of what “successful” people should be like. And while everyone wants to give “one size fits all” solutions on how to live your best life, different things will work for all of us.

One person might do great with mornings, while you might work best at night. Stop trying to be like everyone else, and do your thing boo. We love purposefully posting a lot of different types of content around bettering your life, so that you can take what resonates and leave the rest. It’s your life – you make the rules.

17. Identities can limit you, so don’t get attached to them

I find that anytime I’m holding on too tight to labels, it’s a good sign that I need to evaluate that. I feel like we’re constantly trying to understand ourselves and figure out what labels fit us. And people have a really hard time when they can’t fit something into a box, but I think the reason we probably struggle with identity so much is that we all don’t fully relate to the boxes we’re being put in. I love the way Glennon Doyle approaches identity.

We love to label ourselves, down to the kinds of food we eat, the music we listen to, the way we dress. I love this search for who we are, but I worry that we get too caught up in making these things we like have greater significance than they should.

18. Surround yourself with people who inspire you

When you start to believe that something is impossible, look for people who excite and challenge you in new ways. It’s like you have this desire to make money, but the people around you have a scarcity mindset. You want to travel, but you’re around people who are all working 9 to 5s and settling down without any desire to get on a plane.

Luckily, we live in a time where we have so much access to people who share similar dreams and who inspire us to be more of ourselves and to get to the next level in our lives.

19. Saying yes to someone is really still saying no

If you’d define yourself as a bit of a people pleaser, I’ve found this reframing so helpful. When you’re saying yes to one thing, you’re saying no to someone or something else. Whether that’s you or someone you love, don’t say yes to things you don’t want to do.

20. Speaking of people-pleasing, it can’t be done

I wouldn’t describe myself as a big people pleaser, though I certainly can be. But I’ve definitely witnessed being on the receiving end of a people pleaser. And I can tell you from experience that while you have the best intentions to make everyone happy, when you aren’t being true to yourself and what you want, you’re actually making everyone around you upset.

Because 1) you’re not being true to what you actually want and that’s way more obvious than you think it is, and 2) you’re always choosing to disappoint someone (often yourself most of all) because you can’t be everywhere at once. So, it’s just way better for everyone if you choose to please yourself and be honest about what you want to be doing.

And while not everyone will accept that at first, you’ll be far more respected.

21. Is happiness even the goal?

I still find myself talking about happiness as if it is the goal, but actually, the happiest people don’t value happiness as much as they value inner peace. Happiness is a temporary emotion, not a destination. It ebbs and flows. It’s kind of odd to me that we all desire a state that is so fickle and difficult to sustain, because if we’re constantly happy, we’re ignoring our other emotions.

22. Done is better than perfect

I was a B student in school, and I actually think that while being a B student didn’t do much for me when I was in school, it pays off in real life. Perfection isn’t possible – and getting things out there helps you to improve. A lot of us are fearful of feedback and rejection, but putting yourself out there is the only way to truly learn and improve.

23. Investing in yourself is always worth it – when you’re ready.

You have to believe you’re worth investing in first. It took me a really long time to invest in my business, and in my own personal development. And I think the reason it took so long was that in order to make the investment pay off, I had to make things happen.

Whether it’s a studio gym membership or investing in a coach, you still have to be accountable to yourself to show up and do the work. And when you don’t trust yourself to show up, it’s probably going to be a failed investment. But when you can get to the point where you know that you are ready and up for doing the work, it always pays off.

24. Early mornings are the best

I’m sure it’s not a shocking lesson to see here, but building a morning routine really did change my life. It took me a while to learn to love mornings, but creating a morning routine helped me to create time and space for myself before going into the workday.

25. You wouldn’t really wanna trade lives

Am I the only one who thinks I’d rather have someone else’s life, especially with what you see on the ‘gram? But you know when I was thinking about why I don’t have this perspective anymore, I think it came from reality TV funnily enough. You’d see some people on reality TV that you feel like are these perfect people, and you realize they’re totally not. They go through a lot of hard things too, but they just choose to not show any of that on social media.

If we were to be in someone else’s shoes, at least 9 times out of 10, we’d choose to go back to our lives. Unless it’s Blake Lively, then we’re definitely trading up.

26. No one cares as much as you think they do

How often are we worried about what other people around us are thinking about us? And the fact is that people are always just thinking about themselves. Even if they are thinking about you, it’s really about their own insecurities.

And as I’ve gotten older, I recognize that if someone I barely know is thinking about me that much, that’s on them. If you have an embarrassing moment, no one is still thinking about it longer than a few minutes. We can all relate, and we’re often projecting our fears onto other people, so it’s not personal bestie.

27. Rejection builds character

To be afraid of rejection means that you’re not going to put yourself out there. J.K. Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers for Harry Potter. But imagine if she stopped before getting to the 13th one? Remember that rejection is part of the process, and the comfier you get with rejection (and realize, it’s not personal), the more success you’ll see. Be a persistent, b*tch.

28. It’ll get easier

Nothing is as hard as it is when you first start. It’s funny how when you’re out of the habit of doing something, even the smallest thing can feel SO hard. But once you get in the flow of it – whether it’s going to workout classes or starting a new job, it always gets easier.

The more you do something, the easier it becomes. And it’s always an important reminder when you’re starting something new. It’s a good sign that you’re stretching yourself when things feel a bit scary, but just remember that soon enough, it’ll be NBD.

29. Loving yourself is a journey

They say you need to love yourself before you can love someone else, but I’m not sure I believe that. I think people come into our lives and show us things we’ve never discovered. Some people show us our flaws, some people show us our beauty, and in the midst of life experience we discover ourselves and hopefully, we grow to love ourselves. But our journey in loving ourselves is never complete – and you can learn to do that inside and outside of a relationship.

30. It’s not about accomplishing the goals

At the end of the day, if I never accomplish my goals – I’ll be fine. Hear me out. I think failure is in the act of NOT pursuing what you want. But I believe in God, and I have a trust that if I keep staying true to living my life on purpose and with intention, I’ll be living my best life as it’s meant to be.

My capacity to imagine what my future looks like is so limited. Maybe life will take me on a completely unexpected journey, and I want to be open to that. So, yes I write down vision-aligned goals and I work on making them happen, but I work on releasing my expectations and staying open to whatever outcomes come from that.

What key personal growth lessons have you experienced in your life so far? Share and inspire us!